Craniofacial Growth at Age 6-11 Years after One-Stage Cleft Lip and Palate Repair: A Retrospective Comparative Study with Historical Controls

Children (Basel). 2022 Aug 13;9(8):1228. doi: 10.3390/children9081228.


Background: Primary alveolar bone grafting inhibits craniofacial growth. However, its effect on craniofacial growth in one-stage cleft lip and palate protocols is unknown. This study investigated whether primary alveolar bone grafting performed during one-stage unilateral cleft lip and palate repair negatively affects growth up to 6-11 years old.

Methods: The craniofacial growth, dental arch relationship and palatal morphology at 6-11 years old in children with unilateral cleft lip and palate were compared retrospectively. Two cohorts after a one-stage protocol without (Group A) and with (Group B) primary bone grafting at the same center were compared. Further, cephalometric measurements for growth were compared with an external cohort of a one-stage protocol and a heathy control.

Results: Group A comprised 16 patients assessed at 6.8 years (SD 0.83), and Group B comprised 15 patients assessed at 9 years (SD 2.0). Cephalometric measurements indicated similar sagittal maxillary growth deficits and a significant deviation in maxillary inclination in both groups compared to the healthy group. Moderate to severe changes in palatal morphology were observed in 70% of the members in both groups.

Conclusion: Omitting primary alveolar bone grafting under the one-stage protocol with two-flap palatoplasty studied did not improve growth at 6-11 years. The results implicate two-flap palatoplasty with secondary healing as having greater adverse effects on growth than primary alveolar bone grafting. Dental and palatal morphology was considerably compromised regardless of primary alveolar bone grafting.

Keywords: cephalometry; cleft lip; cleft palate; growth and development; treatment outcome.